Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing executive director Tara Cortes has dedicated her career to improving the care of older adults, following in the footsteps of her predecessor and institute founder Mathey Mezey, RN, EdD, FAAN.
Cortes, RN, PhD, FAAN has focused her work largely on the role of the advanced practice nurse and improving the quality of life of the aging population using an interdisciplinary approach.
Cortes has been awarded three three-year Health Resources and Services grants that allow her to fulfill a mission of creating programs of interdisciplinary care for the aging. An online program geared toward enhancing the ability of primary care providers nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants to recognize the unique needs of someone who is aging is in the pilot phase.
This is a program of 12 online modules that was rolled out last month across the country to 50,000 NPs, she said. We have such an aging population 10,000 people a day turn 65. We know that we do not have an adequate number of primary care providers for this population, and I believe that NPs are the future of primary care in this country.
The program is available for free on the Hartford Institute website at HartfordIGN.org, and continuing education credit will be awarded upon completion.
Two other HRSA grants include a post-masters certificate for adult NPs and a third for what Cortes calls their three Cs model coordination, collaboration and communication which is in partnership with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.
The model brings together practitioners and students who are NPs, pharmacists and social workers to implement a plan for frail, older adults with multiple chronic conditions who are on a very complex medication regimen with a goal of reducing the complexity of that regimen, she said.
A fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the New York Academy of Medicine, Cortes has worn many hats in her career, including nurse educator, nurse and hospital administrator, and president and CEO of Lighthouse International, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting vision loss and preventing vision impairment.
She has received a 2013-2014 Health and Aging policy fellowship, which is part of the American Political Science Association congressional fellowship program. I can now learn all the ropes so we can really move our agenda into policy, she said. What a wonderful time to be able to do this work in this critical healthcare arena in which we are all living in right now.
Tracey Boyd is a regional reporter.
EDITORS NOTE: In recognition of the 25th anniversary of Nurse.com, the magazine will celebrate 25 key members of the New York/
New Jersey nursing community in 2013.